For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2018
PEJ Statement on NJ Court Decision in HG v Harrington
Newark, NJ – Partnership for Educational Justice issued the following statement in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to deny the appeal of the HG v. Harrington plaintiffs, whose lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of New Jersey’s “last in, first out” (LIFO) quality-blind teacher layoff laws as they are applied in Newark.
“We are incredibly disappointed that public school parents whose children have suffered ongoing harm due to antiquated layoff laws have been denied their day in court. While the Supreme Court’s decision means these parents have exhausted the appeals available for their case in court, this lawsuit has brought voice and momentum to a national movement to reform misguided last-in, first-out laws that rob students of a quality public education. Since this lawsuit was filed, Pennsylvania and Minnesota have passed positive legislative LIFO reforms. In addition, the Wright v. NY teacher quality lawsuit, which challenges New York’s version of the LIFO law, has moved forward to litigate the merits of the issue in the trial court. We are honored to have fought alongside these courageous Newark parents, and we will keep fighting for educational justice with them and our network of parent advocates across the country,” said Alissa Bernstein, Executive Director of Partnership for Educational Justice.
“While the court’s decision was disappointing, the result of HG v. Harrington should not dissuade any parent from seeking to protect their children’s constitutional rights to an education,” said Kathleen Reilly, pro-bono attorney from Arnold & Porter.
“Of course I’m disappointed that the courts have denied our appeals, but I don’t for a second regret being part of this lawsuit. Any parent would do the same if they saw their child hurt by a broken public education system that values the jobs of chronically ineffective teachers over the future of young students. I have been able to elevate my voice through this lawsuit, and parents like me have banded together to fight for educational justice in New Jersey. It’s up to us, the parents, to make positive change. We’re stronger together, and we will keep on fighting until every child in New Jersey has equal access to the high-quality education they deserve,” said Tanisha Garner, Newark public school parent and the lead plaintiff in HG v. Harrington.
HG v. Harrington is a parent-led lawsuit asking the courts to declare New Jersey’s “last in, first out” (LIFO) quality-blind teacher layoff statutes unconstitutional. These seniority-based layoff laws unjustly require Newark, a struggling school district, to retain ineffective teachers, while cutting millions of dollars each year from other areas of education spending or laying off more effective teachers when faced with funding deficits.
About Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ)
PEJ pursues educational equity through legal action to improve the quality of public schools. PEJ utilizes a variety of legal actions to achieve its mission, including pursuing impact litigation, amicus brief filings, Freedom of Information Act requests, and other law-related avenues that seek to achieve meaningful reforms of education laws or policies that fail to prioritize students’ rights. PEJ is an affiliate of the national education nonprofit 50CAN: 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, which advocates at the local level for a high-quality education for all kids, regardless of their address.
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